"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
April 8, 2007

Well, it looks like Debian 4.0 (Etch) has been released. And they have a new project leader. And they're talking about trying to get releases out every two years.


* bda peaks out the window, looking for amphibian precipitation or airborne porcine.

The whole dunc-tank thing was, in a lot of ways, the final straw for me. Not the fact that some Debian leads and devs got paid for their work. Who cares, as long as they were doing the work? No, the fact that a bunch of essentially commie programmers jumped ship from the leading commie Linux distro to work on Ubuntu, which is pretty damn far from the Debian project's ideals (regardless of the noise Ubuntu people make).

But when it all comes down to it, I don't care about this crap anymore. I don't care that an OpenBSD dev goofed up and commited GPL'd code to the public CVS repo, I don't care that there was a huge flame-out on linux-wireless@, I don't care about ridiculous community in-fighting.

At the end of the day I want two things:

  • Something that works
  • Something with a stable release cycle

Maybe Debian can get there again, though as Ian Murdock recently said during one of his interviews about being hired at Sun, Debian is all about the process these days. And their process is broken.

11:50 AM | Systems Administration
April 12, 2007

While I was at the colo tonight doing other stuff, I installed Debian 4.0 on one of our SuperMicros (older rev SATA cards which aren't supported by Solaris). The install was relatively painless. I got my metadisks and volumes set up with ease, it didn't ask any stupid questions, and there wasn't any post-install setup.

I chose the "standard" install, as I didn't want www, mx, or anything else going on. I just wanted the standard base Debian install I've been used to for the last ten years. The system gets to a login prompt, I unplug the display, and go back to my other tasks.

When I finally get home, I log into the... wait. What?

[bda@selene]:[~]$ ssh root@moon
ssh: connect to host moon port 22: Connection refused

I... What?

So I think to myself: Maybe I am crazy. Maybe there were some post-install setup questions and I just wasn't paying attention. After a quick install into a Parallels virtual machine, it's quite apparent that, at least in this particular context, I am not insane.

No OpenSSH by default in Debian 4.0.

But hey, nfs-common, portmap, and inetd are all running! So ... that's something.

It's like Debian is saying "We need to be more like Ubuntu. How can we do that? Hey, they don't ship with sshd by default, let's do that!"

This is a load of bollocks. It's an incredibly basic policy change (one I've relied on for as long as I've used Debian -- ten fucking years!) and it wasn't mentioned in any of the fucking release notes or announcements.

This is total bullshit.

3:12 AM | Systems Administration

So a dude uses Cocktail to screw around with his system, and discovers /usr is now visible in Finder (it is not by default). So he deletes it and then blames Apple for not protecting him against his own malicious stupidity.

After a couple dozen people point and laugh, he cries out:

"Regardless, I expected folks within the Apple realm to be of help, rather than be righteous and condescending."

And of course anyone who has actually ever met a Mac user laughs insanely.

Amid all the justified "you are an idiot" and "lol rm -rf /" noise, there is this gem:

"You can't have your userland cake and eat your hacker cake too."

One wonders what flavor and toppings the respective cakes consist of.

11:43 AM | Systems Administration
April 14, 2007

Lately I've wondered where the greats of my generation are. The ones who will write the books and music which will catalyze us, speak the words which will engender in us some form of motivation. The ones who will be delightfully, poignantly weird. Who have lived in and through insane times, and came out the other side with a mind to rail against the madness. To push back the tide, even though it's all gone to sand, slipping through their fingers and caking up at their feet, shadowed ridges like the wrinkles deepening on their faces.

Instead all I see are narcissistic Toys-R-Us kids for whom apathetic despondency has become a mating ritual.

We bitch and moan, on blogs just like this, and think the world is changed simply by the movement of electrons. I include myself in this existential ennui. Our country is in the hands of, as the lamentably late Kurt Vonnegut said a few years ago, "upper-crust C students," and we argue and shake our fists and then go back to our television shows or overly complex obsessions about nothing much at all.

Barely two paragraphs into a whinging rant about the state of my contemporaries, and I find it impossible to continue (full of despondent apathy, no doubt).

Instead I will say:

We will see no more Kurt Vonneguts, no more Hunter S. Thompsons, no more Johnny Cashes. Look instead to yourself, to your closest friends. Try to energize them. While we may all eventually get our five minutes of glory (if only in the scanning Northrop eyes of Big Brother), you must stop living for the camera whose only concern is you fucking up or chipping away at order.

Be a catalyst to those who surround you. Inspire them. Force them to cleverness, to forget there ever was a box to think inside. And do this, for the sake of all the small gods, in Real Life (there's a reason it is still explicitly defined, after all), and not on blogs just like this.

If not you, then who?

Do not ask what Kurt Vonnegut would do. Or Hunter S. Thompson. Or any of the crumbling, fading dinosaurs of the counter-culture, before it shattered and fragmented into...

Ask yourself, instead.

6:06 AM | Life

Pretty decent album, as well.

11:12 PM | Music
April 15, 2007

White House proposes retroactive war crimes protection

So long, habeus corpus. So long, accountability. So long...

I'd like to see an updated version of School House Rock's I'm Just A Bill. Anyone feeling particularly cynical and clever?

7:31 PM | Linkwhore
April 16, 2007

Live Upgrade for Idiots

Huzzah, I was going to start looking for something like that. :-)

Added that site to my feeds as well. woop.

[via stevel]

5:15 PM | Systems Administration
April 18, 2007

<@ejp> lskdjf
<@ejp> They're making a movie out of Flatland!
< mdxi> Steven Spielberg presents a James Cameron film, written by Quentin Tarantino: Michael Bay's Uwe Boll's FLATLAND
< mdxi> (from Pixar)

1:56 AM | irk
April 20, 2007

Origami Starcraft

Yeah, ok, that isn't awesome at all.

[via digg]

4:43 PM | Gaming
April 21, 2007

<@bda> Horrible Histories - The Awful Egyptians
<@bda> Horrible Histories - The Ruthless Romans
<@bda> Horrible Histories - The Vicious Vikings
<@bda> Horrible Histories - The Woeful Second World War
<@bda> Horrible Histories - The Frightful First World War
<@bda> Horrible Histories - The Terrible Tudors
<@bda> Horrible Histories - The Vile Victorians
<@bda> Horrible Histories - Incredible Ireland
* bda sings: One of these things is not like the others.

1:11 AM | irk
April 22, 2007

< bda> Heh, postgres sure is verbose when it runs out of memory and falls over.
< rjbs> errrr
< rjbs> what did you DO, Ray?

1:31 PM | irk
April 23, 2007

"The infinite bravery of the basement-dwelling, cheeto-dusted, internet tough-guy's mind"

An excellent article about dumb-fuck Internet jerkbags. The typical atrophied armchair assholes you get on IRC, web forums... anywhere, really, but concerning specifically the Virtual Jack Bauer element.

[via mdxi]

3:14 AM | Linkwhore
April 26, 2007

Let it be known that I am not a fan of reiserfs. I have had it screw me over too many times at all hours, force me to sit around while it's had to fsck repeatedly to get anywhere, yadda yadda...

So when people start talking about why reiser4 isn't in the Linux kernel yet I just have to grunt and go back to working on getting all our stuff on Solaris.

And, the bastion of hilarious insanity that it is, the first comment on osnews?

Am I the only one who feels that Linux *badly* needs a new filesystem, and that is a shame that Reiser4, having been declared stable years ago, isn't still being officially supported?

When I saw that SUSE had dropped Reiserfs (3) as its default filesystem I had the shock of my life.

Reminds me of those birds from Mostly Harmless. The ones who were like flying goldfish: Constantly surprised by the most inane things.

4:02 PM | Linux
April 27, 2007

Today was a minor personal milestone at work: Our Solaris systems (the very few there are at the moment, comparatively) are no longer second-class systems. We have an organic software management framework which has had the hands of several admins and programmers on it over the last five or six years (or longer, maybe, in some pieces of code).

After a fair amount of tedious toiling, I got the scripts mostly Solaris-friendly (no more hostname -s) and they can now have code pushed to them. This makes them immensely more useful, as you might imagine. I have no doubt that there's a lot of little fixes needing to be done, but the fact that fixes can be pushed trivially makes it massively less painful to do.

The next step is to figure out a good method for deployment of the PAR distributions we've been building for CPAN modules we use. Once that's done, we can start packaging up our own modules and distribute them the same way.

And hopefully early next week, we can start collapsing production services into Solaris zones.

Huzzah to that.

Speaking of zones, once I clean up my add-a-zone script (imaginatively named newzone.sh I will probably publish it. It seems to be the trendy thing to do.

9:08 PM | Work
April 28, 2007

I stopped by Borders yesterday to stock up on fiction, which is lucky as I'd gotten woken up around 0600 this morning by some system crying about nothing. Having been woken up three hours before that for similar reasons (Must. Fix. Alerting. Again), you'd think I'd go back to sleep. But no, that was evidently not in the cards. Thankfully there were books to consume.

Among other things, got another John Scalzi book, which closes out the Colonial Union series. The Last Colony is some damn fine story-telling. Weirdly, I had just re-read the first two books, Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades, over the last week without realizing another had come out. Serendipilicious.

The Scalzi books are highly recommended.

Even more weirdly, one of my whim purchases, Time's Child, is written by Rebecca Ore, who currently works at Drexel here in Philly.

Pretty sure this is the first time that's happened. Odd.

1:05 PM | Books
April 29, 2007

An excellent kinda-interview with Bill Moyers and Jon Stewart. Moyers doesn't really do much interviewing: He asks a couple questions but it's mostly Stewart talking about why The Daily Show does The Daily Show.

He likens TDS to a political cartoon, which is as fair a description as anything I've heard it called.

The one point I disagree with is that we're a nation of people you can trust to treat like adults. Maybe that was true once. I doubt it is now. We've had our information managed and fed to us in fun-sized chunks for so long, I really wonder how we'd react to a return to even the partial openness of government from say, ... hm. Actually. When has government ever really been open or about anything other than a bunch of rich white guys getting what they want?

In vaguely related news, I sure am glad they decided to try and impeach Cheney first, not that it'd ever happen. But, one hopes that Bush in charge means we at least have a thin buffer between pure fucking corporate cock-sucking evil and actual policy simply due to the President's seemingly inherent incompetence.

One hopes.

7:03 AM | Linkwhore
April 30, 2007

< solios> the full extent of lacie's troubleshooting documentation is "IS IT PLUGGED IN? ARE YOU SURE??"
< mdxi> IS THIS THE INTERNET? ARE YOU JESUS?

12:31 AM | irk

And another "Old Man's War" universe book: The Sagan Diary. A novella-length story told from Jane Sagan's perspective through her diary.

The reviews certainly suggest it is something I will enjoy.

Huzzah!

1:02 AM | Books